Byline Raza

Mixing a brew of freelancing and writing in the pan of social media

Seven things you can do this Moharram

By Raza Hasnain Naqvi

As most of you probably know, the month of Moharram has started. 1st of Moharram was on 6th November, 2013. It is the month of mourning for Shia Muslims all over the world, where they remember and mourn the supreme sacrifice of Imam Hussain (grandson of Prophet Mohammad, founder of Islam), his family and his followers in Karbala, Iraq around 1400 years ago.

Lucknow Moharram-Black flag

A black ‘pharaira’ (flag) signifying the Moharram mourning flies at full mast inside the vast premises of Talkatora Karbala in Lucknow. (Pic: Raza)

This Moharram mourning will continue for two months and 8 days and end roughly in the second week of January 2014.

I thought this is the right time to share with you seven things that all of you can do, during this Moharram. Irrespective of whether you are a Shia Muslim, non-Shia Muslim, belonging to any other religion, or even if you are an agnostic, you may do any or all of these things, if you feel like it.

Lucknow Moharram-Alam

‘Alams’ (Imam Hussain’s flags) being carried past the minar situated inside the main courtyard of Talkatora Karbala. (Pic: Raza)

1. SURF WEBSITES: On the internet, you can start with reading an overview about Moharram on Wikipedia (click here). If you have a fair idea about Moharram, then reading about it will add to your knowledge. If you have no idea about Moharram, then reading about it, will give you something new to think about. Then you can go ahead and even surf some websites that give a glimpse of Moharram mourning worldwide via articles, photos and videos like –al-ijtihaad.com , shafaqna.com , shiitenews.com and abna.ir

2. SUPPORT ‘WHO IS HUSSAIN’ CAMPAIGN: You may not have heard about the Who is Hussain Campaign yet. But you will soon enough. This campaign was started by a group of youths from different communities in London in 2012 – all inspired by the personality of Hussain ibne (son of) Ali. Today it has spread rapidly to 13 countries and it is receiving good media coverage. Check out their website whoishussain.org (Also see the 1 min-20 sec introduction video there). To quote the vision of this youthful campaign:

“Our vision is to see a world inspired by the personality of Hussain: his morals, his actions and moreover his compassion for those around him.
 It doesn’t matter if you follow a religion, nor is it important whether you’re black or white. Hussain stands as a timeless example for all.”

Lucknow Moharram-anjuman

Mourners offer ‘nauhe’ (elegies) at Talkatora Karbala, as they remember the sacrifice of Imam Hussain, beloved grandson of Prophet Mohammad, founder of Islam. ‘Alams’ (flags of Imam Hussain) can be seen in the background close to the vicinity of a mosque in the karbala. (Pic: Raza)

3. Share Moharram poetic elegies:  Elegy is a lament for the dead. As part of Moharram mourning, Shia Muslims recite elegies, also called nauhe or matam while remembering the martyrdom of Imam Hussain and all his family and followers in Karbala. If you are so inclined, you can watch and listen to some of the listed nauhe given below on YouTube or as MP3 on websites. You may then download 2-3 YouTube videos or MP3 of nauhe/matam that you liked, and share it with your Shia Muslim friends as a gesture of support during this Moharram mourning period. Needless to add, your gesture will create a deep impact on your friend and even add to your Moharram knowledge. 

Sample list of well known recent Urdu and English nauhe

* Kya Mohammad ka pyara nahi hoon – Ali Shanawar & Ali Jee (sons of Nadeem Sarwar)
* Shaam ko qaidi ban ke chali hai – Ali Shanawar & Ali Jee
* Tera mehmaan hoon – Mesum Abbas
* Hussain o ya Hussain – Mesum Abbas
* Jab mere ghar mein alam hai toh alamdar bhi ho – Mesum Abbas
* Abbas chale aao – Mesum Abbas
* Bas ya Hussain – Nadeem Sarwar
* Behen main Saath Hoon – Nadeem Sarwar
* Aao alam ke saaye mein aao – Nadeem Sarwar
* Hussain Zindabad – Nadeem Sarwar
* Shah Ast Hussain – Nadeem Sarwar
* Amma Achhi Amma – Nadeem Sarwar
* Ya Ali Ya Hussain – Nadeem Sarwar
* Subbat Alaiya – Syed Ameer Hasan Aamir
* Haidriyam Husainiyam – Syed Ameer Hasan Aamir
* Chakkiyan pees ke ae lal tujhe pala tha – Syed Ameer Hasan Aamir
* Ae Aouno Mohammad – Syed Ameer Hasan Aamir
* Aa gaya mahe Moharram – Farhan Ali
* Bas aik bar – Ali Safdar
* Akbar tumhe maloom hai kya mang rahe ho – Sahab-e-Alam
* Main Hussain hoon – Ali Shanawar
* Dil-e-dukhtar – Ali Jee
* Ae alam afrashtey – Ali Shanawar
* Labbaik ya Zahra – Hashim Sisters
* Haye Haye Zainab, Haye Haye Sham – Hashim Sisters
* Mere Baba ke Azadar – Hashim Sisters
* Cry ya Hussain – Ali Fadhil (English)
* Higher – Ali Fadhil (English)
* Abbas – Ali Fadhil (English)
* Live like Ali – Ali Shanawar (English)

Lucknow Moharram-Sibtainabad Imambada

A view of the Sibtainabad imambada hall, in Hazratganj, Lucknow which hosts Moharram majlis. A raised platform covered with black cloth and having two ‘alams’ on top – called ‘mimbar’, can be seen in the right side of the pic. As per tradition, the maulana sits on this ‘mimbar’ and addresses the gathering during a majlis. (Pic: Raza)

4. WATCH TV CHANNELS: If you are in India, and if you are inclined, then you can surf and spend a few minutes to watch Urdu and English Moharram lectures/majlis of Shia Muslim maulanas and related programmes on TV Channels. If available in your city, pan-India TV channels like the Mumbai-based ‘Win TV’ (website: winislam.com ) and the Lucknow-based ‘Husaini Channel’ are a good source of Moharram related information.

5. AVOID HAPPY INVITATIONS: Since Moharram is a mourning period, you should avoid offering or giving any happy invitations to your Shia Muslim friends. This means no invitations to parties, marriages, club-hopping, watching of films or celebrations of any kind. This act would show your solidarity and respect for the Karbala martyrs.

Lucknow Moharram-Mehmoodabad juloos

Children with pitchers on their head and shovels in hand taking part in Mehmoodabad juloos during Moharram in Talkatora Karbala. The children are enacting the promise made by members of the Bani Asad tribe to Imam Hussain (grandson of Prophet Mohammad) in Karbala that they would come and sprinkle dust and water on the martyred bodies of Imam Hussain and his followers in the Karbala (Iraq) battlefield 1400 years ago. (Pic: Raza)

6. REMAIN SOBER: While chatting with your Shia Muslim friend, avoid joking or laughing much with him/her. Being sober with him/her is best during this Moharram mourning duration.

7. UNDERSTAND ATTIRE: During Moharram, Shia Muslims wear black or dark/muted colours only. So you would understand and not wonder why your friend has suddenly stopped wearing any bright coloured clothes for the past few days.

Lucknow Moharram-Sibtainabad Imambada1

A snapshot of Sibtainabad Imambada, where you can see me standing in front of one of the ‘alams’ (flag of Imam Hussain) and ‘tazia’ (replica of mausoleum of Imam Hussain in Karbala).

© 2013 All rights reserved, BylineRaza.com

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Raza is a writer, editor, translator (Hindi-English, English-Hindi) and amateur photographer. When he is not writing blogposts or his next ebook, he is being a regular day guy with a corporate job. Besides his social media footprints, he can also be reached on his email: bylineraza@gmail.com. He does reply to people he wants to reply to.

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2 comments on “Seven things you can do this Moharram

  1. Manju Rani Dubey
    November 20, 2013

    Hi, Heard from u after a long time. pixes overwhelmed me. i remembered u these day for the time we shared discussing at the lunchen time. happy days are over now. Manju

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This entry was posted on November 20, 2013 by in Life & Living and tagged .

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